Wild West - June 2009 - Table of Contents | HistoryNet

Wild West – June 2009 – Table of Contents

4/2/2009 • WW Issues

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Cover Story
Squaring Custer’s Triangle
By John Koster
First, there was George and Libbie. For a short time, there was George and Monahsetah. Then it was George and Libbie again. But, by George, there were no offspring.

Reckoning the West at the Centennial
By Kevin L. Cook
In 1876 at Philadelphia’s Centennial International Exhibition, seven Western states promoted a peaceful, prosperous “New West,” even as shocking news of George Custer’s defeat reached the East.

Saga of the Leatherstocking Scout
By Susan K. Salzer
Medicine Bill Comstock, grandnephew of author James Fenimore Cooper, often dressed in buckskins and moccasins while serving as a fearless early scout for Colonel Custer. But there was more to him than met the literary or military eye.

The Man Who Arrested Doc Holliday
By Peter Brand
The dentist turned gunfighter wanted to get away from it all—it being Tombstone and the rest of Arizona Territory—but he found little peace in Colorado. Perry Mallon, a small-time con man out to boost his reputation and his billfold, was largely to blame.

Monumental Vision
The formations are unforgettable to the Navajos who live there, the tourists who visit and anyone who has seen John Ford’s Westerns. Picturesque Monument Valley encapsulates the American West.

Editor’s Letter


News about the exhumation of Geronimo, outlaw Samuel Wells and Fort Craig soldiers, and the evaluation of a “Crazy Horse” photo. Also John Koster’s Top Ten Little Bighorn survivor myths.

By Johnny D. Boggs
Jim Donovan discusses his latest George Custer book, A Terrible Glory, and how the latest findings helped him relate a fuller story of the controversial Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Although he served briefly as a federal lawman, E.M. Reavis has the look of a mountain man—and, indeed, he went off to live in the mountains.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By Troy Kelley
Arizona had just become a state, but the late-booming mining town of Jerome still held some shooting action for lawman Johnny Hudgens.

Pioneers and Settlers
By Susan Michno
On the hard-luck emigrant trail west, the Ringo family dealt with tragedy when John’s father accidentally blew out his brains with a shotgun.

Indian Life
By Bill Markley
Bear Butte, four miles northeast of the Black Hills, was a landmark for early white visitors and remains sacred to the Cheyenne and Lakota people.

Western Enterprise
By John Koster
Frederick Law Olmsted was a hard-working genius who designed parks and defended the redwoods, but his golden touch did not extend to the Mariposa mines in 1864–65. 

Ghost Towns
By Jim Pettengill
A mini-rush gave rise to Ironton, Colo., in the 1880s when silver was still king, but not even the Joker Tunnel could keep the good times rolling.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
South Dakota painter Mick Harrison gets down and dirty with his depiction of 1870s Deadwood.

By Linda Wommack
The Autry will showcase artifacts from the Southwest Museum of the American Indian.

Guns of the West
By Lee A. Silva
The Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 Army revolver served well for 10 years before the powerful No. 3 American Model took center stage.

Must-read books and must-see movies that feature Doc Holliday, plus reviews of four of the latest offerings dealing with the Little Bighorn.

Auctioned for a record $920,000, this Colt Walker once belonged to a private in the Mexican War.


Discussion: Thanks in large part to director John Ford, many people view Monument Valley, which spans the Arizona-Utah border, as the natural Western feature that best conveys the “Wild West.” Do you agree, or would you nominate another location, such as the Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak, the Black Hills, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Yosemite, California’s Alabama Hills/Inyo National Forest, Old Tucson’s desert scenery, New Mexico’s White Sands, or even the mountainscape of Alberta, Canada? Click here to share your thoughts.

Stand-up Custer: The author argues that Custer stood tall on Last Stand Hill, and that Reno and Benteen were actually to blame for defeat at the Little Bighorn.

Ten Myths of the Little Bighorn:Conceits about the famous battle that just don’t stand up to close analysis of available firsthand accounts.

Baseball in the West: Playing ball in the 19th-century trans-Mississippi West.


“After reading Wild West cover to cover, I can go to the Web site and find other interesting items” —Anonymous

On the cover: In 1868 Lt. Col. George Custer, who had been a brevet major general during the Civil War, took a strong interest in a lovely Cheyenne captive named Monahsetah, but “sleeping with the enemy” did not destroy the George-Libbie marriage. Cover images: George Custer: © Corbis; Libbie Custer: World History Group Archive (colorized by Slingshot Studio, Atlanta, Ga.); Monahsetah: From Princess Monahsetah: The Concealed Wife of General Custer, by Gail Kelly-Custer.

3 Responses to Wild West – June 2009 – Table of Contents

  1. Gail Kelly-Custer says:

    My name is Gail Kelly-Custer:

    Displayed on page 29 is a windowed copy of my book,PRINCESS MONAHSETAH, The Concealed Wife Of General Custer, and a negative commentary. Is this a review from your magazine, or is it just another erroneous opinion by John Koster? If this was penned by Wild West, it is my turn to review you.
    When a person lives in a culture of racism, it does not indicate or require that all are the same! Look back to our own Civil Rights Movement. Some very brave White people aided in obtaining the enforcement of all civil rights, not just African Americans. General Custer lived in much the same category of rasim. Although, he was not a racist, as so many racist people choose to believe. Those same people can not, or will not comprehend that General Custer loved two women, one being out of his race. I and my family do exist, whether they believe it or not!
    Ironically, Monahsetah was one half White. And yes, she could speak English. General Custer indicated she could not so that Libbie would not be so jealous of his relationship with Monahsetah. Her mother was a White woman from Ireland. She had a Medical Doctor’s degree. When she married Cheyenne Chief Little Rock, her name was changed to Medicine Woman. This is how Monahsetah could have, and did have a blond haired child by General Custer.
    To the issue of Monahsetah having only a dark skinned baby in 1869, the truth is she had two children in the year of 1869. She delivered Wooden Leg in January (named in honor of his father, whose leg was stiff, due to the fact that Monahsetah shot him in the knee when he tried to rape her after she had asked for a divorce). Yellow Hair was born the same year in December.
    This writer and descendant of Monahsetah and General George Armstrong Custer, believes Kate Bighead was bragging about her relationship with Monahsetah, to the White Man’s reporter, as so many Cheyenne and Sioux did after the battle of the Little Big Horn, when in fact she never met Monahsetah. She did not live with the Southern Cheyenne on the banks of the Washita. Kate was from the Northern Cheyenne. Monahsetah did not travel to the north until that tragic time at the Little Big Horn. Kate’s account of being at the Washita battle is preposterous!

  2. John Koster says:

    I think I can beat the rap about living in a culture of racism because if you’d seen the three ladies credited as researchers in the article you’d know otherwise. I’ve got no problems with Custer loving two women. He and I are said to be “descended from the same caveman” whenever I displease anyone. However he couldn’t have children with either of the women. CF Pages 34-35 of “Custer” by Jeffry Wert, a genuine expert. But I’m curious about how both George and Elizabeth could have failed to notice that Monasetah was half Irish. American Indians are remotely Asian people, and any contemporary Asian can spot a Eurasian in three seconds. We tend to forget what American Indians actually look like if we haven’t lived around them and have only seen Hollywood movies with Victor Mature as Crazy Horse and J. Carroll Naish as Sitting Bull. Racial marks that are distinctly Indian are the short index finger, Mongolian birth bruise and a full head of hair at birth, and shovel-shaped incisor teeth. They also have black nipples and lack most secondary hair on the limbs and torso. Skin color varies and Cheyenne tend to be very light-skinned. I’ve seen Cheyenne full-bloods who spent a lot of time indoors and had virtually white skin but clearly Mongolian-Amerindian features including a mild epicanthic fold and pedomorphic faces among younger women. Custer drools over Monasetah’s raven-black hair. If she were a ‘breed her hair would have most likely been brown, but never blond. If Monasetah were half Irish and half Cheyenne she should have looked white once she got out of the sun, like Mrs. Joshua Prowers, a full-blooded Cheyenne whose father was killed at Sand Creek. She was once introduced to John Civington at a reception and said “Of course I know Colonel Chivington — some years ago, he murdered my father….” I can’t top that line, so I’ll let it go. –John Koster

  3. John Koster says:

    NB: Dr. Thomas Marquis, MD, the man Kate Bighead talked to, was hardly “the White Man’s reporter. ” He was medical doctor, physician on the Northern Cheyenne reservation, expert in sign language, and pro-Indian to a fault — so much so that he certainly over-estimated the number of trooper suicides at the Little Bighorn to let the Indians off as easily as possible. My own mostly Lakota sources tended to boast about how many whites their relatives had chopped up. They saw themselves as the aggrieved party — I think rightly so. John Koster

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